A fundraising walker has visited Burnham-On-Sea during an emotional walking tour around the UK after his wife and parents passed away from illness over the past year.

Bernard Rix, a Police advisor, is undertaking the ‘Policing Friendship walking tour’ by visiting the UK’s police forces to raise funds and awareness of police wellbeing.

During his seven month tour he is meeting supportive members of the public and Police chiefs in each force area, walking with them where possible.

“As Publisher of Policing Insight magazine, my aim is to raise as much money as possible for policing-oriented charities, with a focus on those charities that provide health, positivity and wellbeing support to individuals and families associated with policing.”

Bernard started his tour in Barnstable earlier this month and is heading north this week. He arrived in Burnham on Thursday during his visit.

After hearing about Bernard’s plans to come through Burnham, Ian Jefferies from Burnham’s BIARS tourist information centre and Paul Hale from Burnham’s Ritz Social Club (pictured below) helped arrange a caravan for him to stay for several nights at Lakeside Holiday Park, thanks to the support of caravan owners Mu and Stan Mills.

“I’ve been camping in friends’ gardens along the way so far, so to have a caravan was really wonderful and a great comfort,” says Bernard. “I am so grateful for the warm, friendly welcome in Burnham. The kindness of strangers has completely amazed me.”

He adds: “Last year was a very difficult year for me as my mum, dad and wife all died within 12 months of various non-Covid illnesses. It has been a terrible time.”

“I got thinking about what I could do next and, after selling the house, I decided to walk around every police force in the UK, without any time constraints.”

“I may stop at various points and spend time with my daughter during breaks but I intend to finish the tour in October.”

“I need this walk for myself, getting away from things and taking my mind away from a terrible year while meeting some wonderful people along the way.”

“I’ve found that friendship is the most important thing in life. Everyone can be happy with strong friendship – there’s a lesson in there for us all.”

Bernard says he is taking a relaxed, ad-hoc approach to his route, adding: “I have a rough plan in my mind, but am adapting as I go while also hoping to raise funds for charities.”

“Anyone can join me along the way to give their support and friendship.”

”We have all been like battery hens couped up over the last year and now we are increasingly like ‘free range hens’ again as the restrictions ease.”


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